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International Trade and Core Labor Standards: A Survey of the Recent Literature


  • Drusilla K. Brown



The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical review of the current debate and recent literature on several aspects of international core labor standards. We attempt to address two basic issues. One strand of the literature examines the role that international trade plays in mediating international differences in wages, levels of development, labor law and cultural practices. In this context, we examine the theory and evidence concerning the impact of differing labor standards for international trade and whether such trade has implications for the income distribution in OECD countries. We also consider the impact of heterogeneous cross-country labor standards and practices for legal institutions relating to labor standards and industrial relations. In particular, we are interested in whether cross-country differences in labor standards must inevitably give rise to a race to the bottom in labor protections and what any consequent decline in standards might imply for broader ... L’objet de cet ouvrage est de soumettre à une analyse critique les arguments avancés dans le débat en cours sur plusieurs aspects de la question des normes internationales fondamentales du travail, ainsi que les études qui leur ont récemment été consacrées. Deux thèmes essentiels y sont traités. Une partie de ces études s’intéresse à l’influence qu’exercent les échanges internationaux sur les differences existant entre pays quant aux salaires, au niveau de développement, à la législation du travail et aux pratiques culturelles. Dans cette optique, nous examinons les théories et les faits observés concernant les effets de la diversité des normes du travail sur les échanges internationaux, en tentant de déterminer si ces derniers ont une incidence sur la répartition du revenu dans les pays de l’OCDE. Nous étudions également l’impact que peuvent avoir des normes du travail et des pratiques en matière d’emploi variables d’un pays à l’autre s’agissant des institutions juridiques ...
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Suggested Citation

  • Drusilla K. Brown, 2000. "International Trade and Core Labor Standards: A Survey of the Recent Literature," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0005, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  • Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0005

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